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May the holiday season be joyful for you and your family.

From the Word of The Week Archive
Joyful – 02/09/2004

Definition(JOYFUL): Feeling, causing, or indicating joy.

There are special times in each person’s life that present prime opportunities to experience pure joy and these moments should be cherished. For example, a wedding or the birth of a child helps remind us of the joy of living. During these special events, we have hopes and dreams for a bright future and a better life.

The most intense periods of joy for me have been when I had a close brush with death or severe injury and survived unscathed. For example, the first time that I skydived and landed safely on the ground was a particularly joyful moment. Once the parachute opened, the descent was not fearful but joyful. Of course, the time “before” the parachute opened is another matter. Although the word “extreme” is relative, that joy of living and exhilaration must be what draws so many young people into extreme sports. Our local law enforcement officers, fire/rescue and EMS people probably have too many opportunities to experience the joy of confronting one’s own mortality.

I remember very well the simple joy of seeing the sunlight after battling mild claustrophobia and spending the night in the bottom of a cave. Believe me, when you are underground and the lights go out, it is unbelievably dark. Or, can you imagine the joy a person would feel after the doctor tells him that the previously diagnosed cancerous tumor was something else and the patient would have a full recovery? That would be like a new lease on life.

Although these are opportunities to experience joy, we all have the opportunity to experience a deeper, spiritual joy everyday. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. made the point that, “The joy of life is to put one’s power in some natural and useful or harmless way.” This teaches us that we can experience true joy in our daily lives, without needlessly facing physical danger, by using our time and talents to help other people in the pursuit of doing “the greater good.” And, just as we should give with a joyful heart, we should also receive with a joyful heart. As Mother Teresa told us, “Joy is prayer—Joy is strength—Joy is love—Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls…She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy.”

The following quotations are intended to assist in explaining and exemplifying the Word of the Week:

We need the enthusiasm of the young. We need their joie de vivre. In it is reflected something of the original joy God had is creating man. The young experience this same joy within themselves. This joy is the same everywhere, but it is also ever new and original. The young know how to express this joy in their own special way. Pope John Paul II

Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill, Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass. Rupert Brooke

Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with. Mark Twain

He who binds to himself a joy / Does the winged life destroy; / But he who kisses the joy as it flies / Lives in Eternity’s sunrise. William Blake

Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks. Samuel Johnson

With an eye made quiet by the power / Of harmony, and the deep power of joy, / We see into the life of things. William Wordsworth

I do it for the joy it brings, cause I\\\\\\\’m a joyful girl. Because the world owes us nothing, we owe each other the world. Ani Defranco

Shared joy is double joy. Shared sorrow is half sorrow. Swedish Proverb

The great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece. The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. The experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful one. M. Scott Peck

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Mother Teresa

Weak is the joy which is never wearied. William Blake

Excess of joy is harder to bear than any amount of sorrow. Honore de Balzac

All real works of art look as if they were done in joy. Robert Henri

To miss the joy is to miss all. In the actor lies the sense of any action. That is the explanation, that is the excuse. Robert Louis Stevenson

LTC Patrick J. Beer, the Dean of Students and Commandant of Cadets at Georgia Military College, prepares this study guide each week as part of the institution’s character education program. He welcomes comments and suggestions from readers. He can be contacted by phone, 478-445-2710, or by email,